Arts Features Lifestyle

Treasure Hunt Begins for Artistic Rocks Hidden in West Hartford

These rocks were painted by all of the artists participating in 'Finders Keepers.' Photo courtesy of Julie Phillips
pm pediatrics cube
Watkinson ad 1 2017

Rocks painted by local artists are being hidden around West Hartford every day during the month of December, and if you’re lucky enough to find one – ‘Finders Keepers’!

These rocks were painted by all of the artists participating in 'Finders Keepers.' Photo courtesy of Julie Phillips

These rocks were painted by all of the artists participating in ‘Finders Keepers.’ Photo courtesy of Julie Phillipps

By Ronni Newton

There’s a treasure hunt called “Finders Keepers” taking place in West Hartford this month, and it’s all about fun and spreading art around town.

The clues started appearing on Monday, Dec. 1, on the Facebook page of the WeHa Artists Emporium, with messages like: “FINDERS KEEPERS Clue #2 This rock looks great near barrels and crates. #‎WeHaArtFindersKeepers‬.” That clue was for a rock that J.C. (Julie) Phillipps had hidden near Crate & Barrel. Four others were hidden in Blue Back Square on Monday, and all were found.

On Dec. 2, five rocks were hidden by Phillipps in Elizabeth Park, and the hunt was on again. Wednesday’s clues came in video form, filmed as artist Stefanie Marco Lantz hid each rock somewhere in West Hartford. The clues were posted every few hours on the group’s Facebook page.

Stefanie Marco Lantz hides a rock in the center. Photo courtesy of Julie Phillips

Stefanie Marco Lantz hides a rock in the center. Photo courtesy of Julie Phillipps

“I’m just an artist; I don’t do a lot of marketing,” said Phillipps, an artist and children’s book author who came up with the idea of the treasure hunt after visiting Block Island last summer when the “Glass Float Project” was taking place. Artist Elben Horton had created 100 glass floats and hidden them around Block Island. “I was desperate to find one,” said Phillipps, but she was just there for a day and wasn’t successful.

Marco Lantz, along with Phillipps and several others, formed the WeHa Artists’ Emporium in September, and the group was looking for ways to increase awareness of the online art gallery. Lantz started a Facebook page, but organizers still wanted more exposure, and didn’t have much money to spend.

“I said let’s paint some rocks and hide them throughout town. I have plenty of rocks,” Phillipps said. The group put the word out, and donations of painted rocks poured in. Phillipps has painted dozens herself, and has been adding a few more to the stash when she has extra time. Right now there are 115 rocks, and four or five will be hidden each day throughout December. In addition to Phillipps, rock artists include Stefanie Marco Lantz, Thea Wilcox Ciciotte, Angela Shenk, Hannah Dunnack Jackson, Miracle Balsitis, Kimberly Heil, Laura Marks, and Phyllis Meredith.

Rocks painted by Julie Phillips include one with a knit cap. Courtesy of Julie Phillips

Rocks painted by Julie Phillipps include one with a knit cap. Courtesy of Julie Phillipps

“I’m just having so much fun! The fact that people want to find them and then keep them is really keeping us fueled,” Phillipps said.

Clues were relatively easy to decipher on the first few days and so far all rocks have been found, but organizers said they will get harder as the month goes on. The artists will also take turns hiding them and posting the clues on Facebook. Phillipps also posts clues on Twitter (@JCPhillipps) and Instagram (@jcphillipps).

“Right now we’re still beta testing our clues,” Phillipps said. “It’s fun, really fun, to hide them.”

Anyone who finds a rock gets to keep it, although organizers hope that finders will limit themselves to one rock per person. “We want everyone to get a rock if possible,” Phillipps said.

Organizers also hope that the finder will post a photo of their treasure on Facebook along with the hashtag “#WeHaArtFindersKeepers.”

Most of the rocks are merely painted, but a few have additional material attached. Phillipps said that there’s a Medusa head with clay snakes, a flower with a stem and leaves, and a sailor with a knit cap.

'Ruby slippers' rock, painted by Julie Phillips, is one of her favorites. Courtesy of Julie Phillips

‘Ruby slippers’ rock, painted by Julie Phillipps, is one of her favorites. Courtesy of Julie Phillipps

“One of my favorites is the house that fell on the wicked witch,” said Phillipps. That one has clay legs protruding from one side. “I’ll save that one for the end,” she said.

The rocks will be hidden each day unless there is a major storm like a Nor’easter, said Phillipps. Some will be hidden in the evening to accommodate people who work during the day, she said.

“We really just want to let West Hartford know that there’s a new group out there, artists who have galleries on Facebook.” The WeHa Artists Emporium is open to all area artists (not just from West Hartford), and anyone interested in posting a gallery can contact Stefanie Marco Lantz through the Facebook page.

In addition to the Finders Keepers treasure hunt, the group is currently holding an art show at Salon Medusa, 12 South Main St., West Hartford, that runs until Jan. 25, 2015. There is an opening reception during the Holiday Stroll on Thursday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“I love that we’re spreading art,” Phillipsp said. If this treasure hunt is successful – and it already seems to be a hit – Phillipps said the group may do it again in the summer. “We’re all really excited that it’s going so well.”

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!

Rock painted by Hannah Dunnack Jackson. Courtesy of Julie Phillips

Rock painted by Hannah Dunnack Jackson. Courtesy of Julie Phillipps

Daffodil rock painted by Julie Phillips.

Daffodil rock painted by Julie Phillipps.

Rock painted by Miracle Balsitis. Courtesy of Julie Phillips

Rock painted by Miracle Balsitis. Courtesy of Julie Phillipps

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
delamar event 1-24 cube
kaoud cube
klaus larsen cube ad
ct forum journalism
Geico cube david johnson 2017
Jeff Brand State Farm 2017 cube
keating insurance 2016

About the author

We-Ha

We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected]

1 Comment

Leave a Comment

Shares
watkinson mobile ad
kaoud leaderboard
state farm leaderboard
keating leaderboard ad
French Cleaners Mobile ad
jp carrol mobile ad